Thursday, November 7, 2013

#10 Grateful for His provision

This will be the first full year that I’ve been the main income for our family. I’ll admit that I don’t like the emotions, feelings and pressures that come along with the gig. I have a new respect for those who are the sole or main income for their family. When Ryan quit his job to become a full time student I was very nervous, especially because we had a seven month old. When I look back I think God prepared a path for us and this transition.

Here are some of the ways I’ve seen him work.

God gave me the opportunity to not only stay on full time at Siemens for an additional nine months after my internship ended in 2008 but I also was able to work a lot of overtime which helped us save money for this period Ryan would be a student.

I also got my dream job at Accudyne in 2009 with a great salary, benefits and profit sharing i.e. more savings.

Eight of my twelve weeks of maternity leave were unpaid. Good practice in budgeting while technically being employed and yet not getting paid.

I was able to exclusively breastfeed Tino for six months and through his first year which saved us a lot of money on formula.

When Ryan went back to work after I had my c-section his boss had cut him back to part time. Although we weren’t happy about this at the time I think it helped again slowly prepare us to budget even more. Plus it allowed Ryan to be home more to help me, new mom, with a colicky Tino.

Sadly our first choice of childcare for Tino for when I returned to work didn’t pan out and we ended up putting him in his current daycare which was significantly less cost and closer to home. This saved us money on childcare and gas.

Ryan and I met a wonderful couple named Carl and Jade who are the owners of TrinTac where we took our concealed carry class. As we became closer friends an opportunity arose for Ryan to work for TrinTac and they hired him on as part of their staff. He’s now teaching classes and answering their phones. Its evening and weekend work and answering the phones is done on his own time at his convenience which is great with him being a student. Although, it’s not a full time income it’s been probably the biggest blessing thus far.

Finally, this year has been most challenging as it’s been the slowest year my company has ever had. Of the 52 weeks this year I will have gotten less than 40 hours for half of those weeks. We also are not getting profit sharing this year. And our health insurance costs rose. I did get a raise but it was smaller than usual but certainly better than nothing and I’m thankful.

On top of that we’ve had some major unexpected expenses. Ryan had a lot of dental work done this year. We said farewell to our two pugs this year but not before dropping a large sum of money on each only to find out there wasn’t anything more we could do. Ryan’s tuition, books and lab fees were also much higher than we ever anticipated.

I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s been a stressful journey but God has provided every step of the way. We’ve worked hard and, although I don’t believe in what is referred to as the prosperity gospel, I believe God has rewarded us for our hard work. The reward is we’ve never had a single problem paying our bills. We’ve always had a roof over our heads, heat, clothes on our backs and food in our stomachs. We never had to ask anyone for financial help. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy. We budget and we don’t get out much. But, through it all, we’ve stayed afloat and I believe it’s all because of God. Today, I’m grateful for his provision.

Monday, October 21, 2013

#9 Grateful for my son’s ultimately healthy birth

A close friend had a baby yesterday. Another close friend is due any minute now. With all these babies being born it got me thinking about my son’s birth story. 

On Monday, January 9, 2012 Ryan and I sat down around 5 pm and had dinner. 

An hour later, nine months pregnant, I lay on the couch and took a nap. 

Ryan and I went to bed around 10:30 pm. Fifteen minutes later I had my first contraction. 

Two hours later my contractions were coming every four minutes and at 1 am we called the doctor and were told to go into the hospital. 

At 4:30 am my mom arrived at the hospital. 

Ryan and my mother stayed by my side through ever transition of labor. 

Later around 8:30 am my father and sister arrived and sat on a bench nearby my sister updating our friends and family on facebook. We joke that all of New Castle County Delaware was tuned awaiting a first glimpse of a picture of our son. 

I had two epidurals which my mother swears neither worked and that I just gave into the pain and worked through the contractions. 

They broke my water and around 11:15 am I was fully dilated and felt the urge to push. Of course Ryan stayed and after two hours of pushing with no baby to show for, our doctor unfortunately recommended a c-section. 

While having surgery Ryan joked with the nurses that I was asleep and snoring. 

Not long after, Tino was born at 2:13 pm on Tuesday, January 10, 2012, his due date. He was 7 lbs 13 oz and 21.5 inches long. He was born blue and not breathing with an Apgar score of 2. Moments later they suctioned him and he had an Apgar of 9. Ryan seeing all this kept a smile plastered on his face the entire time because me he didn’t want to scare me while I was open on the table. I knew none of this until a week later when I was home reading through the hospital paperwork.

It was fifteen and half hours of pain, some fear and ended in surgery but after all that my beautiful, healthy son was finally born. 

Some difficult months followed as we worked through breastfeeding issues, colic and even some postpartum depression but I wouldn’t trade a second of it for my son. I never knew a love like this before this little creature came into my life. He is the ultimate blessing from God for both Ryan and I. I can’t wait to do it all over again. Only, hoping next time I won’t need another c-section.

Monday, October 14, 2013

#8 Grateful for the next 43 days in the gospels

I’m reading through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in chronological order. I’m using a Read your bible in a year chronological reading plan but I skipped right to the gospels. They will take 46 days to complete. Today is day three. 

Some friends and family on facebook are reading along with me and its nice holding one another accountable. My fellow readers post a comment once they finish the reading for the day. 

Reading the gospels in chronological order is very cool. I get to watch the whole story unfold in order rather than four separate times. And, of course I know the story but I find myself anticipating the next day and even wanting to read ahead.

So far this is the most dedicated I’ve ever been to really reading The Bible. Yes, a whole three days in a row! It’s also the most excited I’ve ever been about reading scripture. I’ve never devoted time in my schedule for something like this and I regret that now. It gives me a sense of pride.

I hope others jump on the wagon and join us. It’s actually fun. 

Today I am grateful for the next 43 days in the gospels.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

#7 Grateful for Music

I grew up in a house with music. I remember my parents playing vinyl albums all the time. They listened to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, Genesis, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Billy Joel, Mark Knopfler and so much more. I remember being very young and needing a step stool to put a record on the player. I danced around the living room while my mother cleaned and my father was outside cutting the grass. 

Our little family, Ryan, Tino and I, we tend to listen to music only in the car and Tino’s exposed to a wide array of music like Joe Satriani, Clutch, Stone Sour, Tom Waits, Joe Bonamassa, Foster the People and classics like Pink Floyd and Metallica. We’ve made him some CD’s to play in his room while he falls asleep to Enya, Secret Garden, Cold Play and Adele. I hope he grows up to have an appreciation for all music like his mother and father.

I think maybe it's important for us to turn Sesame Street off and turn some music on. There is so much natural talent and practiced skill to be discovered and appreciated in music. It’s really quite beautiful. Plus our son loves to dance. It's hilarious!

Neither Ryan nor I play and instrument. Both of us have always wanted to learn. I hope Tino does one day and I plan on strongly encouraging it.

Today, I’m really grateful for music. It’s an incredible gift.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

#6 Grateful for peace in my home tonight

Popular blogger Ann Voskamp always writes about how she see's God's grace in the simplicity of her life. I like that and her.

Tonight I was washing dishes. There was a lot because I'd slacked on them yesterday and most of today. I allowed myself to because as you know we put our dog down yesterday.

So I was washing the dishes. My husband was playing his video game. He put his headphones on so I wasn't subjected to the gunfire and explosions. I had the baby monitor sitting on the kitchen counter. My son was asleep and his CD player was playing lullaby renditions of Pink Floyd.

As I washed dishes I felt happy.

Our family had a fantastic day today. We had a good breakfast. We all tried some turkey bacon for the first time. I made myself and my son some apricot orange oatmeal with a little bit of cream I had left over in the fridge.

After breakfast my husband went upstairs to watch a lecture for school. I played with Tino on the floor for a bit and we watched A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures. While he was occupied I decided to straighten up and vacuum.

Earlier, I'd posted on facebook that we were going to Milburn Orchards later in the morning. My husband made the suggestion the night before that we should all get out of the house as a family. My sister saw the post and texted to see if she and her boyfriend could come. Sure! We don't see enough of each other. I miss her and I like her boyfriend a lot. He has a great sense of humor and reminds me of my husband.

On a side note I asked if she could pop over a bit earlier and keep and eye on Tino while I got showered and dressed. She jumped in the shower, got dressed and came right over.

We all got up and out the door. Milburn Orchards was fantastic. Tino ran around. He loved the goats but didn't like the chickens. Nice family outing for less then $30, admission and a dozen apple cider donuts included. We got some fantastic photos.

My sister, although she might not know it, was such a big help today. I sometimes feel like I'm stuck by the stroller with my purse while my husband and son run off. So many times today she kept an eye on our stuff, the stroller, diaper bag and my purse so I could go snap a picture of my son. Half the time she pushed it for me so I could have my hands free. Her boyfriend took a couple really nice family shots of us for me. I'm sure it's not always fun hanging out with a couple with a kid when you're young and childless but these two are troopers. We all had a really nice time.

Once home we had some grilled cheese and soup for lunch. Ryan took a nap. Tino rested in his crib for a while and I uploaded all the photos to facebook, emailed them to my mother and chatted with her about them on the phone.

Tino was up from his nap and we finished the turtle movie, had some dinner and played some more. Ryan gave him a bath and got him in bed. He's no doubt exhausted from such an exciting day. I know I am.

I cleaned up our kitchen and now I'm spending a few minutes typing this out.

I'm sure to some this doesn't sound like a very exciting day but for me it was perfect. I love our little family so much. Our weeks are so busy with work, school, daycare and home. I crave days like these.

I think Ann is saying that you don't need to look hard to see God on days like these even if from the outside looking in they don't seem to exciting. You can feel him even while wrist deep in dirty dishes, barefoot in the kitchen feeling the night air drop in temperature and reminiscing about the day. I think if we spoke she would tell me this and I think she'd be absolutely right.

God is so great!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pinky Floyd & Shelby aka Burt

Some of you know that Sunday, March 31, 2013, Easter Sunday in fact, our pug Pinky Floyd died. Pinky went blind a few months before our son Tino was born. We took her to the vet who confirmed she was blind and wanted to send her to a specialist. She was diagnosed with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) which is an incurable disease in dogs causing sudden blindness. 

Although blind she did very well getting around our house. Saturday, March 30th she suddenly was not herself. She wasn’t getting around. She was very wobbly and she stopped eating and drinking. I planned to call and make her a vet appointment first thing Monday morning. However, that next morning, Easter morning, she still refused to eat and struggled to even stand. Ryan actually laid her in her bed and went to get a shower and when he came down she was gone. It was very quick and peaceful. We buried her in our backyard wrapped in a blanket and planted a garden with a blackberry bush over her. 

Her last year was a tough one. I have some regrets. And, I miss her.

Sadly, this upcoming Friday, September 27, 2013 we will be putting our pug Shelby to sleep. We made the decision yesterday and it’s not been an easy one.

I sent my family, mother, father and sister a long email laying it all out for them. I copied my husband on it as well. It stated what we are dealing with at home with her and her quality of life. I talked a lot about my feelings; frustrations and guilt at letting her go on like this. I was honest with them that with our without their support I’d made the decision that it was time to put her down. 

I sent a similar email to Shelby’s vet who confirmed that we’d done everything we could and that yes it does sound like it’s time. Dr. Flanagan at VCA Animal Hospital in Glasgow is amazing, professional and tenderhearted. He said to call and make an appointment for Friday.

I think after reading my email everyone finally understood that it’s time. I got a nice email back from my mom telling me she loves and supports me. My sister also sent me a nice text. My husband, Ryan, and I talked when I got home from work and he also agreed that it’s time.

Last night I was sitting at our computer and I was looking through old pictures of Shelby to share on facebook and it hit me that she is just not the dog she used to be. She doesn’t jump on my leg with her silly face and airplane ears perked for a treat. She doesn’t freak out and run all over the house and jump on the furniture and bark her high pitch bar. She doesn’t talk when it’s time of her dinner. She just struggles to walk and lies around. And because Tino doesn’t understand that she’s in a delicate state he’s not gentle with her. To protect her we keep her in the kitchen alone all the time. It’s such a sad life for her. After looking at her life two years or so ago and her life now I feel much better about this decision.

Also, Ryan made a great point that Tino’s still little and he’s such a busy body. He probably won’t even notice she’s gone. If we wait another six months or a year he might put two and two together and be sad. If I can spare him of that for now I will.

Friday will be a hard day. I’m taking the day off from work. I’m taking Tino to daycare. I’m going to give Shelby a bath and brush her well and maybe take her down to the park. She can do her best to walk around in the fresh air for some time. I might even make her something to eat, some table food she’s not normally allowed to have before we head up to the vet.

I’m praying for peaceful day Friday. Please keep me in your thoughts.

She loved to be outside!

Always had her tongue out!

Airplane ears perked up for a treat!

The tongue again!

Did you say food? This dog was ruled by her stomach!



Funny sitter!

The two best dogs ever! Having just one pug is like eating just one potato chip!

What a pair uh?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

God Forgive Me

So the horrible story about little Evan has really just broken my heart. I don’t know why this hits so close to home with me. Maybe because it’s a boy and he’s so close in age to Tino. Maybe because it happened here in my home state. 

I read his mother’s description of her last hours with him and even though I won the battle of fighting back tears all day at work I completely lost the war after I picked Tino up from daycare. I kissed him and hugged him tight by the car. Then I strapped him in. Once I got in the car I put some music on for him and cried the 15 minutes home. The tears were cleansing.

My last few hours with my son I would also need to be the one to take him off life support. I would craddle him for hours. I would bathe him one last time. I would dress him in warm clothes. I would place him gently in the bag, kiss him one last time, zip him up and watch them wheel him away. Even after his beautiful and boisterous little spirit left this world I'd care for his little body with the love, respect and dignity it deserves. After all I’m his mother.

In those moments when the tears just streamed down my face I thanked God for my son. I begged Him to always keep him safe. In the darkness of my human heart I sinned and swore vengeance, justice and murder on any evil that would ever dare harm my child. And I clung to the hope that if anything horrible happened to our family that God is strong enough to get us through it.

However, a very tenderhearted person told me yesterday that if she ever lost her child in that way she’d never want to smile again. I can’t help but feel the exact same way. I’m not sure I’d want to live another moment without my beautiful baby boy. God forgive me for such thoughts.